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Côte d’Azur’s different types of tourism

Located between the sea and the mountains and bathed in sunshine, the Côte d’Azur attracts many tourists from around the world each year. They come to admire the luxury of its villas, the beauty of its landscapes, meet its artists and enjoy the festivals of culture. There’s a wide variety of tourist activities, and everybody will find something they love. Whether you’re a nature lover, a jet-setter, a sports enthusiast, somebody who loves the sea or is keen on art, then this region has all you could wish for.

Nature tourism

The landscape in the PACA region is rich and varied, from the Alps to the Mediterranean Sea sparkling in the sun. There are several destinations where you can enjoy all this beauty.
For a breath of fresh air and a breathtaking view, head to the Mercantour National Park. Between the sea and the mountains, and near the Italian border, it is a protected nature reserve with a wealth of plant and wildlife.

It has the richest biodiversity in France, with no less than 40 endemic species. With 600km of trails, it is full of magnificent walks. So get your hiking boots on, pick up your backpack and set off to explore it!

This coast is a garden paradise thanks to its exceptional climate. From the 19th century onwards, the whole of high society wanted to build their luxury villas and exquisite gardens there. From Nice to Menton, discover these botanical treasures with lush plants from around the world. Be sure not to miss the garden of the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, one of the most beautiful in France. This pink villa stands in an exceptional setting, overlooking the sea and surrounded by plants from around the world. It’s like a dream, full of colour and scents. Menton’s subtropical climate has resulted in a profusion of flowers and magnificent gardens.

And there is also the sea of course… If you want to get away from it all, you can visit the Îles de Lérins islands which are only 20 minutes from Cannes by boat, or the Îles d’Hyères and their magnificent white sandy beaches lapped by turquoise water.  Port Cros is classified as a national park and has managed to preserve incredible diversity both on land and underwater. Why not try diving to discover its multicolored fish…
Last but not least, the Estel massif and its red rocks plunging into the sea are one of the region’s must-see destinations. It is protected and classed as a Natura 2000 site, with multitudes of hiking and bike trails.

Luxury tourism

As everybody knows, the Côte d’Azur is synonymous with luxury, and the wealthiest people in the world love going there to relax for a few weeks in summer. Who hasn’t seen photos of celebs on the deck of their boat or going shopping in the streets of Saint-Tropez? They sail aboard magnificent yachts between Monaco and Cannes, or invest in the luxury villas of Cannes and Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. Those looking for privacy approach luxury estate agencies to rent sumptuous villas where they can relax while being screened from the eyes of the rest of the world. They generally find high quality service there in a magnificent setting.

Nice, Cannes and Saint Tropez are home to the most prestigious French and international fashion brands, and it’s not uncommon to see celebrities there seeking out a rarity.
The best properties are highly sought after by this clientele and prestige properties are swiftly acquired to welcome friends and family through real estate agencies specialising in luxury property, such as Haussmann real estate.

Some prefer to party, and the region has no shortage of Michelin-starred restaurants and nightclubs. The area isn’t lacking in casinos or spas either. Puchasing a property such as a luxury apartment in Cannes or Nice can thus prove to be a lucrative investment, especially if it’s intended for renting out to the international jetset who want to enjoy the prestigious services on offer in these cities.

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Cultural tourism

The Cannes International Film Festival is undoubtedly one of the most prestigious cinema events in the world, and Cannes is the most famous city in the region for the same reason. All the movie stars who’ve come to stroll along La Croisette attract film buffs and curious spectators in their droves, and the entire city is seething with them for a couple of weeks. The festival takes place in May when the city’s population triples in number, so it is better to head there in advance if you want to go.

If you want to get away from the crowds, the region is also home to many museums. St Paul de Vente is known for its contemporary art galleries and its pretty alleys with real Provençal charm. A few kilometres away, the Maeght foundation sees more than 100,000 visitors each year. It has one of the largest collections of contemporary art in Europe inside a unique architectural building, in the heart of the countryside. Discover the Miró labyrinth, the Chagall and Tel Coat mosaics, or Braque’s Blue Washbasin and stained glass.

The Côte d’Azur has been celebrated by many painters who brilliantly transcribed the light and colours, and made it their open-air workshop. Some now have their museums there, such as the Picasso Museum in Antibes, the Bonnard Museum in Le Cannet and the Cocteau Museum in Menton. Go take a look, and soak up the special atmosphere exuded by the works of these great artists by discovering their art right where they created it.

Grasse is the perfume capital of the world. The Parfumerie Fragonard, the Parfumerie Molinard and Factory and Musée Galimard are all open to the public with free entry. You’ll be able to see the entire production process and leave with your own bottle!

Business tourism

With major logistics options, the Côte d’Azur is a destination of choice for business tourism. There are eight convention centres scattered throughout the most famous coastal cities of Nice, Cannes, Grasse, Antibes, Menton, Juan les Pins and Mandelieu. It’s a good combination of work and pleasure, because heading out to enjoy the sun on the beach after a long day, or enjoying drinks on the terrace with your colleagues is a significant advantage.

Organisation of congresses and seminars, as well as cultural festivals such as the Cannes International Film Festival, the Jazz Festival in Antibes, and the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monaco, have all made this region famous.

It is a destination that mingles luxury and prestige, where hotels offer more than 30,000 rooms and fully equipped function rooms for seminars. The premium hotel industry here is also in 2nd place nationally for three-star to five-star hotels.

The region enjoys a strategic position in the Mediterranean basin, and, after Paris, is the second most popular business tourist destination in France.

Sports tourism

With the mountains, sea and countryside, the Côte d’Azur is the ideal location for sport.
In winter, head towards the Mercantour massif or the lower Alps. With 600 km of trails, you have plenty to do! Valberg for example is a charming village resort, perfect for a family holiday. Only an hour from Nice, Isola 2000 is famous for the quality of its ski park and the snow cover of its slopes.

It’s also perfect for sailing here. The Régates Royales de Cannes are regattas that see the most incredible ships in the world competing with each other in the Baie de Cannes. They take place the last week of September, and are an unforgettable spectacle!
Paddling in the creeks or diving into the crystal-clear waters is also a must.

Formula 1 fanatics mustn’t miss out on the Grand Prix at Monaco.
The Paris/Nice cycling race, the Nice-Cannes marathon or the Ironman with its final race along La Croisette are for experienced athletes and are followed by an enthusiastic audience.

There have been even more developments in recent years such as the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in Sophia Antipolis, the mountain sports department at Saint-Martin-Vésubie or the longest zip line in France (2,663 metres) in Colmiane.

Not to mention the golf course and its greens which stretch along the sea coast!
As you can see, athletes of all kinds will love it here!

Seaside tourism

The beaches and resorts in the region are like a picture postcard, including iconic beaches such as Pampelone at Saint Tropez, small unfrequented coves and villages with distinct Provençal charm – all good reasons why thousands of tourists flock to the region each year.
Nice is known for its Promenade des Anglais and its luxury hotels, as well as for its colourful alleys with their unique Mediterranean charm. Be sure not to miss the market at the Cours Saleya which will make you dizzy with its scents and colours.

Cannes and La Croisette are synonymous with prestige, featuring palatial residences such as the Carlton and the Martinez, and many casinos and spas. The old port and the heart of the historic district, perched on its hill, are not lacking in charm and are worth a visit.

Menton is right next to Italy, and its sprawl of colourful houses and luxuriant gardens unfurls between sea and mountain. It is mainly known for its lemon festival which takes place in February where you can see a procession of floats decorated with citrus fruits whose zingy colours contrast gorgeously with the azure blue sky.

If you’re seeking small coves with turquoise water, then head for Théoule-sur-Mer. Located in the Esterel massif, the red rocks that plunge into the sea give way to pretty white sand beaches. And be sure not to miss the magnificent view over Antibes, Cannes and the Îles de Lérins from the Pointe de l’Aiguille.

If you prefer an island, Porquerolles is only a few minutes by boat from Hyères, and is a tiny slice of paradise famed for its beaches, its little Provençal village, its port and its recent Fondation Carmignac as well as its contemporary art collection.

The French Riviera has a lot of sea resorts and all have their own unique charm. The sun and the blue of the Mediterranean are everywhere!

With its many assets, the Côte d’Azur is therefore an unrivalled tourist destination. The region is constantly looking to build on what it has to offer, especially in the sports sector to reach a new kind of clientele. Whether it’s in the domain of luxury or lodgings, companies are falling over each other to accommodate and respond to their clients’ needs. So now’s your chance, choose the Côte d’Azur for your holiday!